Shrimp and Hearts of Palms “Au Gratin” Camarão com Catupiry

This is a  very rich and creamy dish usually made on Sundays when family, extended family and friends gather for a big lunch. It is made with an unique type of cream cheese you can only find in Brazil, although it can be order on line these days, it is similar to a combination of Mascarpone and cream cheese. It is called Catupiry, it was developed by Italians in the State of Minas Gerais but the name comes from a Brazilian native language “Tupi” and it means “excellent”. It’s an excellent cream cheese!

This dish is perfect served on top of white rice and butternut squash steamed

Serves 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb uncooked shrimp with tail on
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 jar or can of hearts of palms
  • 1/2 pkg of cream cheese
  • 1 container of Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 can small diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of fresh shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 bunch fresh parleys finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add shrimp let it cook for about 5 minutes or until its nice and pink, drain water, place shrimp in a bowl, melt butter and drizzle over.
  2. In the same pot used to cook shrimp, drizzle olive oil over a medium heat, add can of diced tomatoes, a half   can of water and chopped garlic. Let it cook for about 5 minutes. Add heavy cream, salt and pepper and  blend using a hand mixer, if you don’t have a hand mixer , transfer to a blender then transfer back to the pot once smoothed. Let it cook until bubbly. Change heat to low and add Mascarpone cheese, parleys, stir and remove from heat.
  3. Remove shrimp tails and place shrimp on bottom of a rectangular 13X9 glass or ceramic dish.
  4. Drain water from hearts of palms cut them in slices and place them all over on top of shrimp.
  5. Cut cream cheese in small cubes and place them all over the top. Pour sauce over, sprinkle bread crumbs and  shredded Asiago cheese over the top.
  6. Heat oven to Broil, place dish in oven and broil for 10 minutes or until top is golden and bubbly.

Steamed Rice and Butternut

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1/2 butternut squash chopped in small cubes
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • parleys for garnish

Directions:

  1. If using a rice cooker, drizzle with oil, add rice and chopped butternut, dissolve salt and garlic in water and add to the rice cooker, close top and set it to white rice. Once cooked, transfer to a plate and garnish with parsley
  2. To cook over the stove, drizzle oil in a pot turn heat to low, add rice, butternut and stir, then add salt and garlic dissolved in water, stir again and turn heat up to medium, cover pot and let it cook until tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes but you need to watch in case water dries fast, then keep adding a bit of water as needed.
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Feijoada: Witches Brew or Black Bean Stew

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For our Halloween special edition, we made eye balls with pickled red pepper, sour cream and olives. Totally optional!

“Brazilian Black Bean Stew” known in Portuguese as “feijoada” is a hearty combination of several different pieces of  beef and pork meat cooked with black beans. It’s usually served with white rice, finely shredded and sauteed collard greens , orange slices and garnished with tomato vinaigrette.

There are different views about the origin of this dish. The popular view is that this was a creation of slaves that were brought to Brazil by the Portuguese during colonial times. The popular view believes that, once the good parts of the meat were served to the slave owners, the pieces thrown away like the ribs and pigs feet would be used by the slaves and cooked in with the beans in a big iron pot.

However, some historians and food connoisseurs believe that feijoada is a variation of other European dishes that combine beans and meat like the cassoulet, which is a combination of white beans and meat substituting the white beans for black beans originated of South America. Others believe it was created in the XIX Century.

There has been a lot of changes to the classic recipe for feijoada and lighter versions are very popular without the pigs feet and other unwanted parts. In my recipe, I only use short ribs, chicken sausage and lean ready cooked bacon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of dry black beans
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of table salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 6 pieces of short ribs
  • 1 package of 4 smoked chicken sausages cut into thick slices
  • 6 slices smoked ready bacon cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Marinate short ribs with balsamic vinegar and sea salt, cover and place in refrigerator.
  2. Place beans, water salt bay leaves, onion powder, garlic in a pressure cooker over high heat until pressure builds, approximately 15 min. *
  3. Turn the heat to medium and let it cook for 1 hour. Then turn off the heat and let the pressure built cook for  for 30 min. Don’t open the pressure cooker until all steam is completely out.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil in a crock pot and transfer the beans. Cover, turn heat to medium and let it slowly incorporate flavor.
  5. Meanwhile, drizzle a large skillet with olive oil. Brown the balsamic-marinated short ribs and chicken slices. Cover and let them cook until balsamic becomes a glaze.
  6. Add meat and bacon to the crock pot. Turn heat to high and let it cook until beans are bubbly. If beans are too thick, add a cup of hot water.
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can use a crock pot. Start the cooking process the night before. Place beans, water, olive oil, salt, garlic, onion powder and bay leaves in crock pot at medium heat and let it cook overnight. In the morning, add hot water if necessary and turn heat to high; let it slow cook until beans are tender. Then proceed to cook meat and follow same steps.

For the vinaigrette you will need:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

To prepare:

  1.  Mix all ingredients in a nice ceramic bowl and garnish individually.

 

 

 

Brazilian Shrimp and Yucca Soup

 

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Bobo de Camarão

This is a traditional Brazilian cuisine known as “Bobo de Camarão.” It has African roots and it is mainly typical of the State of Bahia where a large number of African slaves concentrated during colonial times but it is largely found all over the nation ,everyone has a version of this dish. It is basically a mash of yucca roots, coconut milk and shrimp. It can be served over white rice or just by itself like a savory soup. Here is my version, enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds raw, peeled shrimp
  • 1 lime
  • 2 pounds yucca root
  • 1/2 large onion finely chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable or fish broth
  • 4 large garlic cloves minced
  • 4 ripped Roma tomatoes chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 large red pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Bunch of chopped cilantro, parsley or basil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place raw shrimp in a bowl with juice of 1 lime, set aside.
  2. Peel yucca root, chop in cubes and place them in a pot. Add broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let them cook until very tender. Remove from heat and mash them. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a big pot (an iron pot would be just perfect). Saute onions, tomatoes, peppers and garlic until soft. Add shrimp, when both sides turn pink add coconut milk, tomato paste and mashed yucca. Stir with a wood spoon.
  4. Add salt to taste, crushed red pepper and let it simmer over a medium heat until bubbly.
  5. Remove from heat and garnish with herbs.

 

Brazilian Ratatouille

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Ratatouille is originally a French dish from the Provence region. It is a versatile dish, you can eat it as a stew, a baked casserole or soup. It can also be used as a filling for crepes and omelets. It can be served as a side dish or main course. The Brazilian way is served as a main dish, stewed over rice. Simply delicious! Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 2 zucchini cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 4 Roma tomatoes diced
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves minced*
  • 1/2 yellow onion finely chopped*
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tsp dried herbs the Provence
  • fresh parsley or fresh basil chopped
  • shredded Asiago cheese (optional)

“* If you can’t have onions or garlic, omit those and use 2 celery stalks finely sliced and a drizzle of truffle oil.

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan, add onions, tomatoes and red peppers, salt and pepper and saute until onions are cooked and tomatoes bursting. Add garlic, egg-plant and zucchini. Then add vegetable broth or water, tomato paste and herbs.
  2. Cover and let it cook for 10 minutes or until egg-plant is soft. Let it stand covered for 5 minutes.
  3.  Place it in a serving bowl. Sprinkle Asiago cheese, drizzle olive oil and garnish with fresh parsley or basil.
  4. Serve over your favorite steamed rice, white or whole wheat. It is also great over quinoa!

Bon appetit!

No Nooddle “Vegetable Lasagna””

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You are right! lasagna is not a typical Brazilian food but like any other country, Brazil loves Italian food. Many Italians immigrated to Brazil from as early as the 19th Century after suffering  economical crises  in Europe with the Industrial Revolution, mostly were agricultural workers  without land that immigrated to Brazil to work on its coffee plantations .  Many ships left the Port of Genoa (Italy) and arrived at the Port of Santos ( Brazil). Brazil is today home for  one of the largest community of Italians outside Italy.

Anyway, enough with History and back to the dish. I love this recipe because it has no noodles, it is low carb and absolutely delicious, easy to prepare and scrumptious!

ingredients:

  • 6 large zucchini sliced lengthwise, about 4 slices per zucchini.
  • 4 large red bell peppers sliced lengthwise , about 4 slices per bell pepper.
  • 1 small butternut squash diced ( cut into very small pieces).
  • 3 carrots diced ( cut into very small pieces).
  • 3 cups of fresh spinach.
  • bunch fresh basil.
  • 2 garlic cloves.
  • 3 apples, skinned and diced.
  • 2 celery stalks finely chopped.
  • 1 shallot finely chopped.
  • 4 ripped Roma tomatoes diced.
  • 1 can 28oz organic crushed tomatoes.
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese.
  • 2 cups skim milk.
  • 1/2 pint half and half cream.
  • 1 tbsp corn starch.
  • fresh mozzarella cheese sliced.
  • dash nutmeg.
  • 1tsp fennel seed
  • 3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese.
  • flour.
  • salt.

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Place zucchini slices on a large baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and flour over them.Set aside.
  3. Place red bell pepper slices on another baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt. Set aside.
  4. Place butternut squash and carrots on another baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt. Set aside.
  5. Place zucchini on top rack of the oven and red peppers on the bottom. Roast them first for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  6. Then roast squash and carrots for 20 minutes . Remove from oven and set aside. Keep oven heated to 350F.
  7. While vegetables are roasting and resting aside. prepare the sauces.
  8. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in sauce pan, add diced tomatoes, apples, celery, shallots and garlic. Let it cook until all are soft. Add can of crushed tomatoes and smooth sauce with a hand mixer. If you don’t have one , use a blender. Add fennel seeds and salt to taste, let it cook over medium heat until bubbly then reduce heat and let it cooking.
  9. Dissolve corn starch in cold milk, then transfer to a sauce pan, add half and half, salt to taste and nutmeg, stir constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and add half of the Asiago cheese, stir and set aside.
  10. Place one layer of sliced zucchini on the bottom of a large Pyrex or ceramic rectangular dish. Pour all the roasted butternut and carrots on top. Pour half of the tomato sauce on top. Make a second  layer with the sliced roasted red peppers. Put all the fresh spinach  and fresh basil leaves all over. Sprinkle all the feta cheese o top. Drizzle with olive oil. Pour all the white sauce on top. Then make a final layer with the rest of sliced zucchini. Pour the rest of the tomato sauce on top. Place the fresh mozzarella slices all over. Sprinkle the rest of the Asiago cheese on top. Drizzle with more olive oil and place it in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let set aside for about 10 minutes before serving.
  11. Enjoy! oh! and by the way, it is even better the next day!

Brazilian Seafood Stew

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This is a traditional Brazilian dish, known in Brazil as “Vatapa“. It is very popular along the coastal States specially the States of Bahia and Espírito Santo. This dish was heavily influenced by the African culture through the Africans who were brought to Brazil as slaves to work on the Plantations during Colonial times. There are several ways to prepare this dish depending on what State. It is best cooked in an iron skillet or dutch oven. Originally, it is very spicy but that is totally optional, the recipe I present here is definitely more mild. I showed this recipe on national television on the “Home Show” in 1992, since then I have made a few changes adapting to a better and lighter version.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined.
  •  1lb red snapper cut into pieces ( can also use rock fish or orange roughy).
  •  1lb scallops .
  •  1/2 large onion finely chopped.
  •  2 cloves garlic, chopped.
  •  4 Roma tomatoes, chopped.
  •  1 can 16 oz, organic tomato sauce.
  •   1 can light coconut milk
  •  1 lime.
  •  1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
  •   salt to taste.
  •  pinch crushed red pepper
  •  1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro.

Directions:

  1. Squeeze lime juice over seafood and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat, cook onions and tomatoes until they are soft, stir in garlic.
  3. Add tomato sauce, cover and let it cook until sauce is bubbly.
  4. Add coconut milk, salt and crushed red pepper, let it cook until bubbly again.
  5. Meanwhile, bring some water to boil add place raw shrimp in hot water for 3 minutes, drain.
  6. Add shrimp fish and scallops to sauce, let it cook in sauce until sauce is bubbly again, about 10 minutes.
  7. Garnish with cilantro.
  8.  Stew can be served over white rice, it is delicious that way too!

Chicken Stroganoff “Brazilian Way”.

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I Know, Stroganoff is not Brazilian food. We all know it is Russian  but Brazilians love Stroganoff  and they developed  many different ways to prepare  and serve this favorite dish. When researching for the original Russian recipe I found that Russians also have different ways to prepare, some use sour cream , others milk cream. In the United States the recipes use sour cream and they like to serve over pasta.  Brazilians don’t use sour cream or serve over pasta. They like to use milk cream and serve Stroganoff over sauted potatoes or over white rice with finely shredded fried potatoes. I adapted the Brazilian recipe that uses” Nestle” media crema for fresh heavy cream or whipping cream it makes for a fresher and better taste.

Ingredients:

4 Chicken breasts skinless and boneless cut into thin stripes

1 Lime

2 Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

1 Yellow onion finely chopped

2 Garlic cloves minced

3/4 Cup Cognac

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp Catsup

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp Tomato paste

1 8 OZ. Jar button mushrooms

Salt/Pepper

1 Pint of Heavy cream or whipping cream

Fresh chopped parsley.

Directions:

1) Melt butter with oil in a large saute pan, add onions, garlic and chicken. Let chicken cook until golden brown .

2)Add juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper to taste and cover for 5 min.

3)Add Cognac, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and Catsup and let it cook for another 5 minutes.

4) Add mushrooms , cover and let it cook another  5 minutes.

5) Add cream , folding it gently, reduce the heat to low and let it bubble, stirring occasionally.

6) Garnish with fresh parsley.

I like to serve this dish over white rice and sprinkle shredded fried potatoes* on top.

*Shredded Fried Potatoes:

2 large potatoes

vegetable oil to fry.

Directions:

1) Peel potatoes and shred them in a food processor.

2) Heat oil in a large frying pan, add potatoes make sure both sides are golden brown. Let them dry on paper towel and sprinkle some salt.